JewishPress.com is live-blogging the efforts of Israel’s firefighters and security forces as they battle against the flames of pyroterrorism across the country. Arab suspects have been caught and arrested in multiple locations around Israel setting fires, even as nations from Europe, Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean Basin have sent aerial firefighting warriors to help battle the blazes.
3:59pm Fire Threatens Nataf Community
20 firefighting planes are battling the blaze — first row of houses in immediate danger. Evacuation Underway.
2:13 pm All Haifa Residents Allowed to Return to their Homes
The all clear has been given for all Haifa residents to return to their homes. Estimates of 700 burned and damaged homes with 37 totally destroyed.
Police have announced that they have the suspect in last night’s terror arson attack near Beit Meir which nearly destroyed the community.
Over 12 additional suspects in custody for terror arson attacks over the past few days with more arrests to come.
Currently, the primary fire not under control is in the Jerusalem Hills / Shaar Hagay area.
11:11am Fire threatens Horshim Community in Southern Sharon region
15 fire trucks – 7 planes battling the fire. Community evacuated. Heavy winds driving the fire towards the Southern edge of the community.
10:55am Fire in Nachal Kana — Shomron Region
New fire started in Nachal Kana between Nofim and Karnei Shomron.
10:38 AM Fire near Kiryat Gat Junction and Nahal Sorek on Route 6. Kiryat Gat train service and main road temporarily closed, but now reopened.
9:21 AM Three Arabs caught overnight trying to start fire near Ariel.
Security cameras caught three Arabs trying to start a fire near the city of Ariel using a Molotov cocktail. The fire department got there in time to put it out and the pyro-terrorists were caught and arrested as they fled into a nearby Arab village.
9:00 AM Yona Yahav, mayor of Haifa estimates that 700 apartments have been damaged in Haifa.
8:10 AM: A lookout saw Arabs throwing burning material from car near Nehogot in Har Hebron.
Attempt to start fire failed. Security forces searching for the pyro-terrorists.
05:30 Firefighting aircraft are also expected to arrive on Friday morning from France. Portugal was approached with a request as well but the response from Lisbon was not clear. Moscow is sending two more planes, in addition to the two that were sent on Thursday night, with the third aircraft capable of carrying 50,000 cubic meters of water, the Foreign Ministry announced. Ukraine has promised to send two firefighter planes as well, and Azerbaijan has said it will send one aircraft.
05:00 Israel received confirmation overnight that its request has been approved for the Global Supertanker aerial firefighter to be flown to the Jewish State to help in the effort to battle the flames spreading across the country. Israel contacted the company that operates the aircraft. A similar plane was flown to Israel in 2010 to assist in the fight against the Carmel Forest fires. The Boeing-747 Supertanker, operational as of six months ago, is considered the cream of the crop in aerial firefighters worldwide, capable of carrying 74 tons of flame retardant or water, able to generate enough pressure to cause a rainstorm effect, can release eight rounds of the water and/or flame retardant. Currently based in Colorado Springs, this is the only aerial fighter in the world that is capable of carrying on an aerial firefighting battle after nightfall. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said late Thursday it would take 24 hours for the plane to arrive from the United States. “We only use it in extreme situations,” he said.
04:30 A Jerusalem District Police spokesperson says forces are making a final search through the remaining homes in Beit Meir to ensure none of the residents are trapped or have otherwise not yet been evacuated. No injuries have been reported. There were reports that a number of suspects were spotted and appeared to be injured but fled from the scene. Forces are searching the area. Jerusalem Regional Commander Nitzan Yoram HaLevi is carrying out a situation assessment at the on-site command headquarters together with all relevant emergency response agencies. Firefighters have managed to slow down the pace of the fire and to push it back towards the outskirts of the community. Aerial firefighters will resume battling the flames from the skies above the moshav at first light. In the coming days, police and firefighters will mark seam lines between the forested areas and the rural communities to establish permanent aerial coverage areas and identify sources of fire in the earliest stages possible.
03:59 Fire officials are going door-to-door to check each home in Beit Meir, making sure there are no residents who are trapped or otherwise remaining in the homes, many of which have already been damaged by the massive fire engulfing the community. Hundreds of firefighters are streaming towards the besieged moshav to help battle the flames.
03:30: Officials report that 25 fire trucks and some 60 firefighting teams are on site to battle the roaring fire that has already damaged a number of homes. Firefighters are doing what they can to save the rest.
03:17 The entire community of Moshav Beit Meir is being evacuated in order to ensure that everyone remains safe, as firefighters battle the huge blaze that surrounds and has begun to penetrate the moshav.
03:00 Israel Police helicopter is patrolling the area above Moshav Beit Meir and the general site around the flames, updating the forces battling the blaze from the ground. Forces are evacuating residents from Beit Meir using cars, buses and rescue vehicles. No physical injuries have been reported. A command post has been set up on site.
02:53 Good news in northern Israel, where the flames have been extinguished between Nahaf and the community of Har Halutz. The electricity is back on and residents received the “all clear” to return to their homes. Israel Police and Fire & Rescue personnel remain on alert near the communities.
02:52 Officials from Israel Electric Company arrive on site at Moshav Beir Meir and are disconnecting the power.
02:49 A number of homes have sustained damage from the flames at Beit Meir, and more firefighters are on the way to back up the forces currently on site. Beit Shemesh Fire & Rescue Commander Reuven Yitzchak is on site.
02:31 The Beit Meir fire reportedly began after police identified five Arabs trying to ignite an incendiary explosive device in the forest. It then blew up in the air and caught fire among the trees.
02:26 US Ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shapiro: “As Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, our hearts are with those Israelis affected by the fires across Israel, and the brave firefighters.”
02:10 Fire officials on site at Beit Meir say it is clear the huge blaze is posing a serious threat to the homes in the moshav and have called for backup. Increased numbers of firefighters are on their way to the site. Flames are also threatening the communities at the base of the moshav, and residents of those areas are also being evacuated as well.
02:09 Another fire has broken out close to the Jewish community of Dolev in the Binyamin region. Regional Council officials are urging caravan residents to evacuate their homes as a precaution. Israel Police and firefighters are on site to assist.
02:05 First Turkish firefighting amphibious aircraft reach Israel. Two more on the way.
02:03 Evacuations taking place at Beit Meir a moshav close to Jerusalem and home to Yeshiva Ohr Yerushalayim.
01:59 A massive fire reported at the entrance to Beit Meir.
01:43 Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs tweets: “Devastating fires in #Haifa: #Canada stands with you #Israel; our thoughts with those affected.”
01:42 Terrorists hurled stones at an Israeli driver traveling along the road past the Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina. Vehicle damage has been reported. Israeli forces are on the scene.
01:36 Israel Police report the outbreak of a fire in the community of Ka’abia. No physical injuries reported and no damage either. Police evacuated five homes located close to the line of fire.
01:03 The electricity remains cut off in the Galilee community of Har Halutz, where firefighters say the blaze is still out of control. A total of six homes were damaged by fire. Police are patrolling the community in order to protect the belongings and property of the residents, who have all been evacuated to safety. Route 854 at the Karmiel Junction and the road up to Lapidot is blocked in both directions.
00:31 In Nazereth Illit, firefighting teams are working to prevent the spread of flames in the direction of Givat Barak. An additional forest fire appears to be endangering homes in the area, and firefighters have been sent to the site. So far officials have counted more than 40 fires in the Nazareth area since Thursday morning.
00:28 Israel may revoke citizenship of arsonists, sources say.
00:21 Stoning terror attack against an Israeli driver reported on the Hutzat Yehuda road near Tarkumia, in the Hebron region, west of the Jewish community of Adora. Vehicle damaged but no physical injuries reported.
00:16 Currently there are 16 firefighting teams battling the blaze at Har Halutz in the Galilee, with flames still threatening homes in the community, which is now empty of residents who were evacuated earlier Thursday evening. Firefighters are spread throughout the area in an effort to contain the blaze. Five homes are known to have sustained damage from the flames.
00:08 Bnei Zion Medical Center reports a total of 35 fire-related patients arrived at the hospital on Thursday, with 11 admitted for further treatment and the remainder treated and released.
00:07 New fire reported between Kabul and Timna.
00:02 Officials request the public avoid the area of Chevel Megiddo and Ramot Mishna or to the area communities in general or to the nature reserves, the forests, rivers or parks, due to the outbreaks of fire around Mishna Forest.
00:01 Fire reported near the Jewish community of Dolev, caravan residents urged to evacuate. Israeli police and firefighters assisting in the effort on site.
00:01 Israel Police say there have been no deaths or serious injuries reported as a result of the nationwide fires — a major accomplishment. On Thursday alone there were at least 250 fires around the country, making it clear that a number were deliberately set. The penalty for arson is a 15 year prison term, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked pointed out in a tweet, and she added that if state property or a nature site is involved, the sentence rises to 20 years.